A WELDER who claims he accepted a lift in a classic car shortly after it was stolen has been told to pay €5,500 compensation to the car owner or he faces six months in jail.
A judge told Stephen O'Connor (24) that he did not believe his story, particularly with his "history of robbing cars".
O'Connor, of Sheephill Green in Blanchardstown, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to being a passenger in a stolen vehicle. The incident took place at Blackcourt Road in Blanchardstown on May 11 last.
Garda Robbie Byrne said he was on mobile patrol when he got a call that a white Triumph GT6 was stolen from a house in the Waterville area.
Gda Byrne said he saw the vehicle and indicated for it to stop, but it didn't. There was a short chase, and O'Connor was seen getting out of the passenger door. The garda said the €5,500 car was a write-off.
The court heard the defendant had 12 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic matters. Defence solicitor Fiona Brennan said O'Connor had drunk a lot of alcohol and now realised it was foolish to accept a lift in the classic car, which he should have known was stolen.
Ms Brennan said O'Connor was an unemployed welder, hoping to find work soon.
Judge Patrick McMahon said he did not believe the defendant's story, as he had a history of robbing cars.
Garda Byrne said the owner of the classic car received €4,000 off his insurance for the car, but it would cost a further €1,500 to restore the vehicle.
Judge McMahon said O'Connor should compensate all the parties, and pay the full cost of the vehicle.
He said that if O'Connor paid €5,500 compensation he would impose a three-month sentence suspended for one year.
The alternative was six months in prison.
The case was adjourned to the end of September.